Zimbabwe buys airplanes to support ailing national carrier

The government has bought two Boeing 777 aircraft and an Embraer plane from Malaysia, which would be leased to a new local airline, pending when Air Zimbabwe starts to yield enough profit for the country.

The finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said Zimbabwe partnered with an unidentified Malaysian firm to buy four Boeing 777 planes for $70 million, but so far has paid for two.

The government will retain ownership of the used aircraft from Malaysia Airlines while it awaits the small Embraer plane it has paid for. Meanwhile, Zimbabwe plans to add five more of such aircraft to support the national carrier in yeilding profits.

These new planes where not given to Air Zimbabwe as the government could not continue supporting an airline that yeilds loss, because it was like “putting resources into a bottomless pit,” Chinamsa noted.

Air Zimbabwe has debts of more than $300 million and last year, the European Union banned it from operating due to safety concerns.

The government plans to acquire a total of 15 airplanes under the public-private partnership agreement (PPP) with investors in diaspora.